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Full text of "My Country And My People"

Il8          MY   COUNTRY   AND    MY   PEOPLE

Buddhist influence has been so great as to transform Con-
fucianism itself. Confucian scholarship since the Chou Dynasty
was confined to textual emendations and philologic com-
mentaries. The fashion for the study of Buddhism, believed
to be introduced to China in the first Christian century, rose
steadily throughout the Northern Wei and Ch'in Dynasties,
and produced a change of emphasis from textual commentaries
to the inner philosophic meaning (yili}. In the Sung Dynasty
there arose directly under its influence a new Confucian
school, or several schools, which called themselves lihsiieh, or
"philosophy." The preoccupation was still with moral
problems, but terms like hsing (nature), li (reason), ming (pre-
destination), hsin (mind), wu (matter), and chih (knowledge)
were brought into the foreground. There was a reawakened
interest in the Confucian Tiking (Book of Changes), which studies
the mutations of human events. These Sung Confucianists,
one and all, especially the Ch'eng brothers, had delved deep
into Buddhism and came back to Confucianism with a newly-
won perspective. The realization of truth was spoken of, as
by Lu Chiuyen, as an "awakening" in the Buddhistic sense,
following a long meditation. Buddhism did not convert these
scholars, but it changed the tenor of Confucianism itself.

Equally great was its influence over writers like Su Tungp'o,
who were in an armed camp against these scholars, but who
played with Buddhism in their own light, dilettante way. Su
Tungp'o styled himself a chussu, which means a Confucian
scholar living in Buddhistic retirement without becoming a
monk, a most peculiarly Chinese invention which allowed a
follower of Buddhism to live in married life and become a
vegetarian for periods at leisure. One of Su's best friends was
a learned monk, Foyin, and the difference between these two
friends was only a difference of degree of conversion. This was
the time when Buddhism prospered under imperial protection,
with a Government Bureau for the translation of Buddhist
classics, and counting at one time almost half a million monks
and nuns. Since Su TungpVs time, and largely due to his
great literary influence, many a scholar of high standing has
played with Buddhism and become a chussu of Su's type, if
not actually entering a monastery as a monk. In times of